Title: Life in Fusion (Summit City #2)
Author: Ethan Day
Publisher: MLR Press
Edition: First Edition
Buy Link: Amazon.com
Genre: Contemporary M/M
Length: Novel (90k, 316 PDF pages)
Rating: 5+ stars out of 5, DIK
Summary Review: Ethan Day exceeded all of my expectations with this sequel to Sno Ho. Life in Fusion rocks on all levels. A delightful love story and huge slice of life.
Sequel to Sno Ho
Aspiring author, Boone Daniels, always figured love would be as easy as he was. Fresh off the whirlwind winter-vacation romance with ski-god and would-be boyfriend, Wade Walker — Boone was certain that saying goodbye would be the hardest part.
He’d survived the unconventional way in which they came together, proven himself somewhat worthy to Wade’s hometown of Summit City, and felt certain the self-imposed, six month boy-buffer would prove one thing – their fate was to be forever entwined.
Once real life settles in, Boone suffers the realization that no one ever actually said love was easy and that even after you fall, you can still break. As their two worlds collide, he begins to understand that if he can navigate the landscape of life in fusion, he just might get that happily-ever-after — after all.
I was prepared to be disappointed by Life in Fusion because rarely does a sequel equal the initial story. Life in Fusion is that exceptional book that makes the original, wonderful as it is, seem like a springboard to something that’s so much better it eclipsed it. Sno Ho reviewed here was a fun book about Boone Daniels meeting and falling for hot Wade Walker, a former Olympian, after he had been cruelly dumped long distance by the man he had been dating for a year. Boone had spent one week with Wade, a hero and demi god in the small town of Summit City, Colorado, who made it clear that he was in love with Boone and wanted them to spend the rest of their lives together. When it was time to say goodbye temporarily Boone was still not sure about his feelings for Wade and worse, he was having panic attacks about moving in 6 months to Summit City from Albuquerque, New Mexico where he had lived all his life and had his entire support network of friends and family, including a job. Was love enough and what could anyone really know about someone else in one week?
Life in Fusion opens immediately after Boone said goodbye to Wade in Sno Ho. Of course there is drama on the way to the airport as he’s kidnapped by the Quad, 4 women from Summit City who wanted to know his intentions towards Wade and his reason for leaving, but the meeting very quickly became a free-for-all between the women and a fight for supremacy. This little vignette is but a slice of all the madness that permeates LiF. Add to that Boone’s sci fi book that he lets us read along as he’s writing it, and I felt that I was in another dimension. 🙂
If I were to summarize Life in Fusion I would say that it’s Boone’s journey into adulthood over the course of several months. All the characters who touched his life and helped him find out who Boone really was were incidental to that journey, but he had to travel part of the road alone. The train wrecks that happened, while they were hilarious, at times were poignant and moving. The best parts of this book are the characters and if some of them were larger than life that’s because Ethan Day doesn’t appear to believe that his characters should be ordinary, therefore he imbues them with personalities that I have never seen in other books. Purists or critics may feel that the author invites disaster with so many unusual people in his books, but somehow here he created a world and a wonderful slice of life in LiF that will keep you entranced and amazed, and you will wonder how he managed to pull off such an incredible feat of keeping the characters grounded. Not every M/M reader is going to love Life in Fusion, as they may not see beyond the crazy characters that seem to live within the author’s imagination, but the fact remains that he is creative and a wonderful writer whose style can’t be duplicated because any other writer who tried to write a story like this would end up with an unholy, horrible mess. At times he teetered on the balance beam but he caught himself just before he crashed.
The book is told from Boone’s first person POV and his emotions were on overload the entire time as he battled his fears about screwing up again as he had always done, this time in front of an entire town. Ethan Day’s writing in Life in Fusion is brilliant and the story can be summed up as a soap opera wrapped up in vibrant three dimensional, colourful characters, most of whom you will never find anywhere else because they are unique. Many times I wanted to smack Boone much as I loved the character, because he was so vain, inconsistent, and drove everyone crazy, yet I understood the insecurities that drove his erratic behaviour. He loved Wade and was afraid that he would never come up to his expectations. He was fragile and felt that he was undeserving of happiness, and he knew that if he moved to Summit City he would have to compete with the residents there for Wade’s love since Wade was the heartbeat and raison d’etre of the town and he would always have to share him. Could he be selfless for once in his life? Could he believe in their love? He and Wade had known each other only a week and with his track record with men it was quite likely that no matter how much he wanted the relationship he would sabotage it, because he didn’t want to put himself to the ultimate test of loving someone else unconditionally. Also, could he reconcile himself to not being number 1 and the focus of everyone’s attention all the time?
Wade, on the other hand, seemed quite sure of his feelings and he was in a hurry to tie the knot with Boone, but was it love or just a desire to be part of a couple? At times Wade was overshadowed by Boone but when he was put to the test he proved that he really loved the man but was not going into the relationship wearing rose coloured glasses. As for the sex, what can I say but that it was as incredible as in Sno Ho but in LiF there are tender moments that are unbelievably poignant and emotional that show how much they loved each other.
The other characters in the book were just as well drawn – from Boone’s crazy and “out there” mother Dixie, the former Miss Texas, and his father Rocky who didn’t believe anything was sacred, not even their son’s sex life, and they wanted to show Boone how much they supported his lifestyle as a gay man by telling him about their sex life, much to his chagrin. However he was clearly much loved by his parents and the feeling was returned even though they embarrassed him no end with their antics, their home, their dress and just about everything they did. But I loved the way they still acted like teenagers in love.
The one liners were endless and so funny that I laughed out loud so much my sides hurt. I will not give you any examples of the prose or the dialogue or the crazy situations that were key to the story because that would be doing you a disservice. This is a story that you have to experience with no filter because Ethan Day has no filter. If there wasn’t so much more to this book, which at times could have been a train wreck, I would have written off Life in Fusion as just another funny novel. However the story was about complex human emotions and more than just a bunch of funny quips, although there were tons of those. 🙂
Life in Fusion is really about a man’s journey from being irresponsible and selfish to a caring individual whose love for Wade, his family and friends and even Wade’s family, helped him to become someone of whom he could be proud. Having said that, this is one of the zaniest books I have read in a long long time, maybe the craziest, and every character was so complicated that I wondered how Ethan Day could write a book with so many people “on the edge” yet not create caricatures. The characters were wonderfully drawn, some of them so sensitively portrayed, like Boone’s parents, I wondered if they were patterned after people the author knew in RL. Jackie, Wade’s sister who was the opposite of her brother, was another person that I thought was well done as she shared some of her insecurities about being overshadowed by her popular brother, their lives growing up without a mother but being supported and helped by a loving community. Another very important character to Boone was his best friend Gabe from childhood who hurt him terribly by not accepting his relationship with Wade, mainly because he was moving far away, but in the end he realized that this was a journey Boone had to take to be true to himself.
Life in Fusion was a tough book to review because there is the temptation to try and make other readers understand why the book moved me so much. It was very funny and there’s no escaping Boone’s antics that made me want to kick him where it would hurt, but he was so vulnerable and fragile at the same time as he was annoying and vain that it was difficult not to love him, and most of all his character growth since Sno Ho was unbelievable. Obviously this is just one person’s opinion and many of you may disagree, but it’s how I feel about LiF. I hope to meet Boone and Wade again after they have been together awhile to see how things are working out. This is an unforgettable couple and story.